Anthony Joshua Has a Must Win Bout Against An Unbeaten Opponent This Weekend

With three defeats in his last five fights, including back to back losses against Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua is at a crossroads in his boxing career.

After failing to recapture his belts against Usyk in their rematch, the former Olympic Heavyweight Champion will attempt to get his career back on track on Saturday night.

Under the title “New Dawn” Joshua will face off against the American Jermaine Franklin at the 02 Arena in London knowing that nothing less than a good win will keep him in the upper echelons of the heavyweight division.

Bet365 Sport has Joshua as a massive 1/12 odd-on favourite to win the bout, but we have seen upsets greater than this before, especially in the realm of heavyweight boxing.

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So what kind of opponent will Anthony Joshua be facing off against, and what state of mind is the former Heavyweight Champion in?

Let’s take a closer look at the fight.

Anthony Joshua v Jermaine Franklin

  • Date – Saturday 1st April 2023
  • Venue – 02 Arena in London
  • Fight Start Time – 10.00pm (estimated)

Tale of the Tape

Anthony Joshua Jermaine Franklin
33Age29
6ft 6”Height6ft 2”
17st 1lbWeight18st 3lb
82”Reach77”
AJNickname989 Assassin
15th October 1989Date of Birth21st October 1993
Watford, EnglandBirthplaceSaginaw, Michigan
27Fights23
24Wins22
3Losses1
0Draws0
22Knockouts14

Anthony Joshua Bio

Anthony Joshua earned his fame as a Heavyweight boxing gold medallist at the 2012 Olympics in London. Shortly after, he began a professional career which saw him gain experience and move through the different levels of the sport, amassing win after win by knockout.

His first huge bout was a grudge match against fellow Brit Dillian Whyte, who had beaten Joshua as an amateur, but Joshua won the fight by TKO in the 7th and in his next fight, he landed a World title defeating Charles Martin by knockout in the 2nd Round to take the IBF belt.

Joshua successfully defended his title against Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina and then won the WBA and IBO belts to add to his IBF belt by beating Vladimir Klitschko in the 11th round at Wembley Stadium.

Joshua defended those titles three times, including a win over Joseph Parker to claim the WBO heavyweight title, before a shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in New York, a defeat he avenged six months later in Saudi Arabia.

A win over Kubrat Pulev followed but in his next defence, he was soundly defeated by Oleksandr Usyk on points and in the rematch, he lost a split decision to the Ukrainian in August 2022.

Joshua’s behaviour post-fight, where he threw the belts out of the ring following the announcement, and then grabbed the microphone to launch into a rather bewildering tirade, has been criticised and the British boxer has been relatively quiet in the run up to this fight.

Jermaine Franklin Bio

Franklin has boxed 111 rounds in his career as he was something of a knockout specialist early in his career. Like Joshua, he picked up plenty of experience against lesser quality boxers to bolster his record before stepping up the quality of opponents he faced.

Wins over Rydell Booker, Jerry Forrest, Pavel Sour and Rodney Moore moved him into contention in the heavyweight division, but last November, he fought Dillian Whyte and while many felt he more than matched the British boxer, he lost the bout by unanimous decision for the first defeat of his career.

However, this bout against Joshua represents a significant step up in quality, especially if Joshua is back to his best and it is going to be interesting to see how Franklin performs against another British fighter.

How Will The Fight Go?

Both of these fighters have had similar careers, knocking out plenty of opponents early in their career but finding knockouts tougher to come by in later fights against better quality fighters.

Franklin notably has struggled to get his opponent out of the ring early with just one of his last six fights finishing before the final bell, a 5th Round TKO over Rodney Moore in May 2022.

However, Joshua’s knockout rate has dropped significantly too as he has been taken the distance in three of his last four fights.

The British heavyweight is the clear favourite and should land the win, but it seems more likely that this will come in the later rounds or via points.

Franklin has shown great durability in his career so Joshua may need to wait to land the punches he needs to beat the American, so I am backing Joshua to win by KO or TKO in the 10th round, which is a 10/1 shot with bet365.

Undercard

Alongside the main event Heavyweight bout, there is a healthy undercard of action earlier on Saturday evening for boxing fans to enjoy.

A previously announced fight at Light Heavyweight between Craig Richards and Ricards Bolotniks has been cancelled due to Richards having suffered a hand injury.

However, Felix Cash will take on Matteo Signani for the European Middleweight title, while Ammo Williams will face off against River Wilson-Bent in two fights that could well see Cash and Williams battle it out in June.

British heavyweight champion Fabio Wardley, who has an unblemished 15-0-0 record, will continue his progress through the ranks against Michael Coffie.

Campbell Hatton, son of former World Champion Ricky Hatton, will also continue his professional career against Louis Fielding, while John Hedges will face Daniel Bocianski in a light heavyweight bout.

In addition there will be three more fights early on in the evening which will feature Ziyad Almaayouf at Super Lightweight, Juergen Uldedaj at Cruiserweight and Peter Kadiru at heavyweight.

What Next For AJ?

This is essentially a must-win fight for Anthony Joshua to resurrect his boxing career, a win and a good performance and he will be in the reckoning for a heavyweight title shot somewhere along the line and with talks between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury now over with no agreement, a fight against Fury remains a possibility.

A loss though and it may well be time for the likeable Watford fighter to hang up his gloves according to many boxing pundits.

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